This article aims to review the use of graduated compression stockings in the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE). This is particularly important owing to the increasing number of people who die from hospital-acquired VTE and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, there is the need to raise awareness among nurses and other health professionals on the overall impact of VTE, and the number of patients with a range of conditions including cancer who may be at risk of developing VTE. Graduated compression stockings, when used alone, have been found to be effective in preventing VTE in a number of patients in hospital and community settings. However, there is evidence that when used together with other preventative measures such as pharmacological prophylaxis are more effective than graduated compression stockings alone. It is also important that the correct size of graduated compression stocking is used and how they are applied as these may have a significant impact on VTE. The role of the nurse in thromboprophylaxis and implications for practice are discussed.